Notre Dame, the No. 3-ranked college football team in the country, will travel to Pittsburgh this weekend to take on the Pitt Panthers (3-3) at Heinz Field.
It’ll be a big day for Pitt as they’ll get to play in front of the home crowd for the first time this season. For five members of the Notre Dame team this game will be extra special because they’ll be coming back to their hometown to play on national television against Pitt.
Central Catholic’s Kurt Hinish, Gateway’s Robert Hainsey, North Allegheny’s Josh Lugg, Pine-Richland’s Andrew Kristofic and Mars’ Michael Carmody will all suit up for the Irish as they look to remain unbeaten and keep alive their hopes of playing for a national championship. Hinish and Hainsey are expected to start for the Irish.
Starting in 2016, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and his staff have done a great job of coming into Western Pennsylvania and landing a number of highly rated recruits, specifically on the offensive line.
Unlike many college programs that have their assistants recruit certain areas of the country, Notre Dame doesn’t have a specific coach that recruits Western Pennsylvania, as they have a few guys who recruit the WPIAL. Assistants Mike Elston (Hinish), Harry Hiestand (Lugg) and Jeff Quinn (Kristofic and Carmody) were the lead guys on these big four-star gets.
Not landing highly sought after local players is something no program likes but what makes this a double-whammy for Pitt is that these recent losses were four-star offensive lineman, a position where Pitt really needs to improve. To be fair though to Pitt, the trio of Lugg, Kristofic and Carmody had their choice of many of the top programs in the country and losing a player to Notre Dame happens to many schools.
4-star OT Michael Carmody (Mars) was a Top 100 national recruit with offers from Pitt, Texas A&M, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Pitt was actually the first program to extend an offer to Carmody. His brother Robby, plays basketball for Notre Dame.
4-star OT Andrew Kristofic (Pine-Richland) was a Top 100 national recruit with offers from Pitt, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Kristofic’s father, David, played defensive and offensive line for Pitt from 1989-93.
4-star OT Josh Lugg (North Allegheny) was a Top 100 national recruit with offers from Pitt, Alabama, Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
As we take a look back, this recent run of Notre Dame recruiting the WPIAL really started in 2016, as prior to that, the Fighting Irish staff either didn’t have luck here or didn’t make it a big priority.
NOTRE DAME RECRUITS FROM WPIAL SINCE 2003:
Travis Thomas, RB, Washington, (Class of 2003)
Darrin Walls, CB, Woodland Hills, (Class of 2006)
Steve Paskorz, Athlete, Hampton, (Class of 2007)
David Posluszny, Linebacker, Hopewell (Class of 2008)
EJ Banks, Cornerback, Montour, (Class of 2009)
Robert Hainsey, OT, Gateway, (Class of 2016)
Kurt Hinish, DT, Central Catholic, (Class of 2016)
David Adams, LB, Central Catholic, (Class of 2016)
Josh Lugg, OT, North Allegheny, (Class of 2018)
Phil Jurkovec, QB, Pine-Richland, (Class of 2018)
Andrew Kristofic, OT, Pine-Richland, (Class of 2019)
Michael Carmody, OT, Mars, (Class of 2020)